Okta spring concert features unusual ensemble

16 September 2013

OKTA Delightfully eccentric trio: (L to R) Lara Hall (violin), Katherine Austin (piano) and James Tennant (cello) in a unique collaboration with an up cycled suitcase boom box.

Hamilton's contemporary classical music ensemble Okta has an especially varied line up planned for their spring concert this year.

Old favourites

The main body of the concert includes some old favourites in the form of Debussy piano preludes, says convenor of the music programme at Waikato Martin Lodge, but also features two world premieres.

“David Griffiths' new Cello Sonata receives its first complete performance from James Tennant and Katherine Austin, while a rarely heard quartet of violin, cello, piano and boom box will get together to play Jeremy Mayall's light-hearted new Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm.”

Unusual ensemble

The most unusual ensemble of the night will see violin, cello and piano getting together with a boom box to perform Jeremy Mayall's Sketches of an Interglactic Earworm. In this piece, low tech recorded sound meets the finesse of the piano trio.

Jeremy says the piece is heavily influenced by funk - James Brown and George Clinton to name a couple of influences.

Jeremy Boom Boom box: Jeremy Mayall with an up cycled suitcase boom box.

“The music is focussed on rhythm and groove rather than extended melodic lines or complicated harmonies; trying to capture that essence and work it into the energy of the piece.”

New element

In addition to the unusual, the concert this year includes a new element: Okta Overtures. These are three short pieces by third year composition students, performed at the beginning of the concert, scored for an unusual variety of instruments including cellos, with electric guitar, and small choir with taonga puoro.

Young piano virtuoso Andrew Leathwick will play one of his own compositions and the New Zealand Chamber Soloists trio will complete the programme with some recently commissioned new pieces by John Psathas.

The Okta spring concert is on Thursday 19 September at 7.30pm in the Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Waikato. Tickets are just $10 for adults and free entry for students with valid ID.